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UPDATED: June 7, 2010 NO. 23 JUNE 10, 2010
Blueprint for a Prosperous Xinjiang
Nationwide support promises a bright future for multiethnic frontier region

In the next five years, all urban residents will be supplied with natural gas. Rural areas will also have access to natural gas. And the prices of power and gas supply for both urban and rural residents will be lowered.

With regard to employment, the government will provide unemployed college graduates with a temporary monthly minimum allowance, and in the same time, language and vocational training to help them find jobs. To jobless families, jobs in the public service sectors can be provided within three months.

Beginning this year, a new rural pension system will be launched in poor areas and expanded throughout the region by 2012. A basic medical and public health system will also be established that year.

Construction of three water reservoirs in south Xinjiang will improve flood resistance and farmland irrigation, and alleviate power shortages in the region.

In an effort to improve urban residents' living environment, heavy air pollution in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang, will be mitigated within five years.

Meanwhile, several ministries have already announced their plans.

Central Bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said the central bank will promote renminbi settlement in cross-border trade and investment, which can play a role in propelling Xinjiang's economic growth. The central bank will also help small and medium-sized enterprises in the region, he said.

The Ministry of Transport will raise the ratio of subsidies to investment in Xinjiang's major highway projects from 20 percent to 50 percent over the next five years. Li Shenglin, Minister of Transport, said 38 percent of highway investment in Xinjiang will come from the Central Government's direct subsidies and Xinjiang's highway projects can apply for bank loans without local government's contributed capital.

The State Grid Corp. of China also announced an investment of 4.17 billion yuan ($611 million) in Xinjiang from 2011 to 2015 to provide a power supply to areas with no access to electricity. n

Xinjiang Facts and Figures

Area: 1.66 million square km

Population: 21.59 million

Capital: Urumqi

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, accounting for one sixth of the country's total territory, is the largest of China's provinces and autonomous regions. It also has the longest boundary—at 5,600 km—and borders Mongolia in the northeast, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in the west, and Afghanistan, Pakistan and India in the southwest.

Xinjiang is abundant in resources. More than 130 mineral deposits have been found in Xinjiang, with verified reserves of 83 types of those minerals. Xinjiang's oil and natural gas reserves account for 30 percent and 34 percent of the country's land reserves, respectively. Its coal reserves account for 40 percent of the country's total.

Xinjiang is also the country's largest production base of cotton, hops and tomatoes, and is the main base of livestock husbandry and sugar beet planting.

Mineral resource exploitation and agricultural product processing are Xinjiang's pillar industries.

The Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) is a subordinate of the dual leadership of the Central Government and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Regional Government. With 14 divisions (reclamation areas), 174 regimental agricultural and stockbreeding farms, 4,391 industrial, construction, transport and commercial enterprises, it's a unique economic and semi-military organization of 2.57 million people.

Major Goals

- 2012: A basic medical and public health system, covering urban and rural residents, should be established.

- 2015: Xinjiang's per-capita GDP should catch up with the country's average level, and residents' incomes and access to basic public services should reach the average level of the country's western regions.

- 2020: Absolute poverty should be eliminated and a moderately prosperous society should be achieved.

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